Economic status and the illness of the older person : a study of the economic burden of illness presented by the aged group in the public wards of Winnipeg General Hospital

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Hryniewiecki, Madeline Edith
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Life's expectancy, lengthened beyond the span of man's economically productive years, social change and illness has worked hardships for older people. The process of aging, combined with illness and reduced economic status has constituted problems not only for the individual but for the community and nation. Society has become conscious of a responsibility towards old people and the ever increasing financial burden of the responsibility has caused concern. The economic status and health of the aged have become important issues. For this reason, this report has chosen to analyse the economic status and pattern of illness of the older group using the facilities of the public wards in the Winnipeg General Hospital. It attempted to focus and answer two questions. How heavy an economic burden was illness in advancing years? Was the cost of illness met by the financial resources of the aged, and if not by whom? Preventive medicine, over the past half century, has made it possible for more infants to grow into adulthood, more adults into old age. Old people have become more numerous. But, industry has not kept pace with medicine in recognizing the potentials of the older individual. Policies of early retirement have remained in force. Employment opportunities for those still capable of giving service have been scarce. The bulk of the aged has been caught within this social lag. Since few have retained their place in labour markets and few are provided for through pension plans, a high percentage have had to be content with drastically reduced financial resources. Yet in their declining years, they have had to cope with rising costs, failing health and increased need for hospital and medical attention. Social legislation to some extent has attempted to bridge the gap with such measures as Old Age Security, Old Age Assistance and health service programs. The task in this study, then, will be to explore the magnitude of the problem of illness facing the aged, observe their resources and see what part social measures have in the economic affairs of the aged...